This is part-1 of an article on India-China face-off, after the violent clash of June 15 night. This focuses on the hypocritical,mutual blame game to deceive people and incite jingoism, presently targeting China. Now it’s BJP Vs Congress War of words on China that tops headlines. But both maintain relations, fairly long and deep, not only with China, but China Communist Party (CPC) also.
What was unthinkable only a few weeks ago has happened: PM Modi is accused of “Surrender to China”, of “ appeasement of China”, and is being compared with Nehru, not only by the opportunist Congress, but also by the Right wing, and even by voices within the military and Sangh parivar.
Of course it was a boomerang for Modi.
But this is not the time to gloat over this attack on Modi. These attacks are not objective, they go against facts, and they are not in the interest of India or its people.
India China arrive at “ mutual consensus to disengage”
Indian and Chinese armies – senior Indian and Chinese commanders – on June 22 had an 11-hour-long meeting and held talks in a “cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere…There was a mutual consensus to disengage. Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both the sides,” said an Indian source.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Beijing said the two sides had a “candid and in-depth exchange of views on the outstanding issues and agreed to take necessary measures to cool down the situation.”
Sources said the ground commanders will hold a series of meetings in the next couple of weeks to finalise the detailed framework of disengagement.
Now that India and China arrived at “ mutual consensus to disengage,” and de-escalation on the ground has begun, it is time for a look back on some of the issues involved in a cooler mood.
How domestic politics are meshed with global strategies also needs to be understood, so as to avoid even a limited war, and in search of peace and development.
This is part-1 of such an effort to read between the lines, and make some sense out of this cacophony that is confusing, and meant to be a cover up for a ruling dispensation that has been trapped in a political cum economic mire.
It deals with how Indian State and major ruling parties maintain relations not only with China, but its Communist Party also. People should know that they are being taken for a ride by them into politics of hatred towards almost all neighbouring countries: Not just Pakistan and China, but Nepal, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Maldives were all targeted by India at one time or another. Sikkim was also one, but that was “annexed” in 1975, Morarji Desai as PM opposing it openly.
Bullet-proof shields for Indian soldiers were dependent on China
That was so until June 15 border clash. The sheer hypocrisy of Indian rulers, to be noted by all Indian people, for calling China as our enemy for decades is thoroughly exposed by the following news items:
Bullet-proof shields for Indian soldiers have been dependent on China…, the raw materials being imported from China.
The PMO now asked the Niti Ayog to prepare a plan to “incentivise” and change this, and that is “due to inconsistencies in quality” of the materials, said Niti Ayog Member VK Saraswat (ex-DRDO Chief) on June 22, (Financial Express, June 26,2020.)
This is one week after the June 15 violent border clash. They continued for years, even after Modi-led NDA-1 and NDA-2 arrived.
Obviously it is a sequel to the recent border clash. Only a few weeks ago,on June 3, defensenews.in, specializing on the subject, reported the same Saraswat saying this:
… import from China “is market-driven and cheaper than others…we can’t do much about this….(unless) we find they “are not upto the mark” we will have to say that…” as of now there is no such report”, he told PTI.
“We have done standardization of bullet-proof jackets. …laid down by Bureau of Indian Standrads, BIS testing standards have been laid .” Orders were placed for 3 lakh jackets, with private companies, which were earlier procuring raw materials from US and Europe. Now most of them are being obtained from China, due to lower prices…”, he said.
And this is years after plans for indigenization of Defence production were announced by UPA, then reiterated by Modi-led NDA-1 and NDA-2. A shift from Made in India to Make in India has been announced years ago by Modi regime. Sangh Parivar calls for Boycott China goods have been there since a few years, now renewed by various agencies.And now comes this news!
India-China joint military exercises held until Dec 2019
Then see this report with the title, Namaste, Ni Hao! Sitharaman’s charm offensive signals improving India-China ties, India Writes Network reported October 11, 2017:
A video clip showing Ms. Sitharaman teaching the meaning of ‘namaste’ to the PLA soldiers has gone viral with several Chinese media groups sharing it widely as a positive gesture from the Indian side.
Namaste, Ni Hao! It’s time for bonhomie and friendly gestures between India and China, who are trying to put the bitterness of the Doklam standoff behind. India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Nathu La in Sikkim and her informal interaction with the Chinese troops across the border has been hailed in China as a warming signal for better India-China relations. Nathu La border post is around 30 km from Doklam where the two countries were engaged in a prolonged 73-day standoff.
China’s Global Times, the report added, while welcoming the event
… cautioned India against forming alliances with US and Japan. “Indians must overcome the paranoia that suggests their country is strategically thwarted and threatened by Beijing. New Delhi also needs to give up its pursuit of Washington and Tokyo support to deploy as a bargaining chip against Beijing… Confrontation with China will directly limit its international strategic space.”
That was in October 2017, post-Doklam, and held at a sensitive Nathu La border post .And business-standard.com, December 22, 2018, reported:
The 7th edition of anti-terrorism India-China joint military exercise concluded, in Chengdu area of China, Indian Defence Ministry said in a statement:
“The exercise included lectures and discussions on various counter-terrorism aspects, like cordon and search operations, raid on terrorist hideouts, intelligence collection and joint operations. Also, integrated live firing was conducted for both contingents to enhance inter-operability and promote jointmanship.
“As part of validation exercise, troops of both armies carried out specialised joint counter-terrorist operations including room intervention and hostage rescue which was witnessed by dignitaries of both armies.”
See a Report indiatoday.in, December 20, 2019:
The 8th India-China joint training exercise, a joint military exercise between Indian and Chinese troops.. concludes in Meghalaya… The exercise aimed at enriching both contingents from each other’s experiences in counter-terrorism operations.
The Chinese contingent from the Tibet Military command comprising 130 personnel and the Indian Contingent had participated in the 14-day-long training exercise.
Joint military and anti-terrorism exercises with China continued from UPA days till December 2019. They reveal the hypocrisy of anti-China politics of both the ruling class parties.
Liberalizing Defence sector with 100 percent FDI, and allowing free play for private sector (though it never took off significantly) are the latest measures even as Self-Reliance and Boycott China goods is mouthed.
Now it’s BJP Vs Congress War that tops headlines!
No more it is merely India-China face-off…The contention within the ruling classes had been extended earlier to top echelons of judiciary, and now openly to top military officials too.
People now can see better how they are in a cut-throat rivalry, hitting each other below the belt. India-China face-off is being raked up and utilized by both sides for their narrow, electoral ends; with Bihar polls likely next October, may be also by polls to MP, virtual rallies have been launched.
The BJP and Congress on June 25 Thursday again traded barbs over the India-China border stand-off in Ladakh, with BJP accusing the latter of taking funds, in 2005-06 , from China for the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF). BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya alleged the RGF had taken funding not only from the Chinese embassy in Delhi, but also from the Chinese government…
(The BJP alleged that donations to the RGF were made in 2005-06 when the Congress-led UPA-I was in power. )
The Congress, however, responded asking the BJP to “stop living in 2005 and start answering questions in 2020”, saying the govt is playing ‘diversionary tactics’, theprint.in, June 25 reported.
BJP president Nadda, in a virtual rally of June 25 also accused the Congress of taking “a hefty amount of three thousand hundred US dollars (sic) from China and the Chinese embassy” as donations for the foundation…
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also joined tio say: “There is a pattern as to why the Congress party does not condemn China….Ten years rule of the Manmohan Singh government is littered with various evidence as to how the Congress party tried to support China and make it earn tonnes of money by permitting the increase of trade deficit 33 times,” he added.
The BJP’s attacks come days after Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “surrendered” to China.
Rahul Gandhi has questioned the Modi govt for ‘surrendering’ territory to China – Modi was called ‘Surender Modi’ – but the BJP spokespersons hit back … Gaurav Bhatia calling him ‘traitor Gandhi’, among other things… and Shahnawaz Hussain saying. “Rahul Gandhi has lost all decency, he should apologise immediately”, said an earlier report of June 21.
Punjab Chief Minister, former Captain in Indian Army, Amarinder Singh also joined with his ownshare of jingoism:
“Our soldiers at the front should be clearly told that if they kill 1 of ours, you kill 3 of theirs,” Singh said, and asked why there were no orders to fire at the Chinese in the face of the brutal attack…
Vying with BJP, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha, in May, had tweeted against China (about the LAC) in a chauvinist language :
(He) warned the communist nation about how Indian forces can ‘defang the venomous snakes’ like China and stated that the entire world was watching the sinister designs of China while calling them “Yellow expansionist”.
However, it was later disowned by Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma : “..Congress recognises and values the special strategic partnership between India and China. As two ancient civilisations and large economies of the world, both countries are destined to make a significant contribution in the 21st Century.”
Meanwhile, the BJP’s IT head Amit Malviya also slammed retired Army personnel who have been critical of the Modi government, like journalist Col. Ajai Shukla and columnist Lt Gen H.S. Panag… Col Ajai Shukla is a Gandhi family lackey, masquerading as defence expert …
From Col (Retd) Ajai Shukla to Lt General (Retd) HS Panag, the Congress has lapped up assorted discordant voices from the Army post their retirement. But they hardly listen to Former Army Chiefs like JJ Singh and VK Singh,said BJP.
On June 23 BJP Chief Nadda had questioned the Congress on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of August, 2008.
“First, Congress signs MoU with the Chinese Communist Party. Then, Congress surrenders land to China. During the Doklam issue, Rahul Gandhi secretly goes to the Chinese embassy. During crucial situations, Rahul Gandhi tries to divide the nation and demoralise armed forces. Effects of MoU?” Nadda wrote in a tweet on 23 June.
(We have seen above how BJP Defense Minister joined the joint military exercises with China, post-Doklam. )
A PIL was also filed in the Supreme Court on June 24 , seeking directions to the NIA or CBI to investigate the 2008 agreement.
We do not know if all those engaged in anti-China jingoism, and the Court too, would consider BJP-CPC ties, detailed below.
BJP’s Relations with China Communist Party are quite old and deep
BJP as Opposition party also, officially greeted, in 2012 November, CCP on its 18th Party Congress :
Shri Nitin Gadkari, BJP president greeted: The BJP … congratulated the convening of the 18th National Congress of the CPC, expressed its desire to maintain strong goodwill relations with China, appreciated the CPC’s steering of the people of China on the path of prosperity in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres, and commented that now as China had been enjoying global prestige and position in world affairs, the BJP was sure that the 18th National Congress of CPC should further formulate strategic policies for nation building and push forward the economic and social development of China.
Many other parties, including Congress, also greeted.
Despite his anti-communist RSS Ideology, veteran Sri Dattopant Tengadi (1920-2004), Founder of SJM (Swadeshi Jagran Manch and BMS) upon an invitation by China’s ruling party, had visited and studied China in 1985 (viswa samvad kendra, vsktelenagana.org,2017 Nov 11. swarjyamag.com also reported); he wrote and spoke appreciatively how they worked for their country and people. Modernization without westernization is one of his works, and he could see that practiced in China. Since then till now, a delegation of BMS has been a regular invited guest to China almost every year.
BJP delegation in Beijing for a week-long tour of China
It was not only Modi-led NDA government that maintained relations with China, but BJP too, and that with the Chinese Communist Party CCP…and that for decades. The latest was in August 2019, a few months after NDA-2 came to power and passed Kashmir Bills, and ahead of President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in October, by an 11-member BJP delegation led by party general secretary Arun Singh. (reported economictimes.com, Aug 27, 2019)
The International Department of the CPC, said its Chief Song Tao, maintains regular contact with over 500 political parties and organizations of different types in more than 160 countries and regions. He disclosed that most foreign political parties are interested in how the CPC governs such a big country.(People’s Daily Online, 05, October 23, 2019). It is part of China’s diplomacy for peace and development.
The BJP delegation visited China between 26 August and 1 September, 2019. Photo: Arun Singh, BJP national secretary | Twitter
“The BJP and CPC have discussed ways to enable greater exchanges between both parties. Our party leadership felt this was the right time for the exchange, considering the PM is set to meet the Chinese president shortly,” said BJP’s foreign affairs department in-charge Vijay Chauthaiwale, who is part of the delegation.
“Understanding the party discipline and control over the Chinese economy, and foreign policy will help us get a better picture on how India should go about its policies,” a member of the delegation said.
The delegation will also meet Chinese think tanks and lawmakers during the visit, and “study the CPC’s internal party structure, political functioning and its role in establishing a welfare society.”
In 2015, home minister Amit Shah had met Wang Jiarui, the minister of the international department of the CCP at the BJP headquarters. In 2014, a delegation of MPs visited CPC school in Guangzhou and studied the “reform process initiated by the Communists in China in sectors such as manufacturing.”
dailypioneer.com, 03 September 2019 added:
The BJP delegation also discussed about the promise of Chinese investors, who were in Jharkhand last year, and assured investment in the State.
The BJP delegation and Chinese counterparts discussed on the ways of strengthening the 2500 years old relation between the two countries, as presently the two countries comprises one third of World’s total population.
Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Poddar at BJP party office said, “The visit was very fruitful as the delegation discussed various social, political and cultural relations between the two countries. The delegation met political leadership of Communist Party, government officials and even Chinese businessmen and discussed several issues.”
BJP leaders, who visited China in the last week of August, told ThePrint (11 September, 2019) :
The BJP delegation stressed on the fact that while there is government to government interaction, there is a need for a party to party and people to people connect too.
The BJP caught the attention of the CCP, the largest party in the world until 2015, when the BJP surpassed it by enrolling 8.8 crore members.
The BJP leader said the CPC members told them that the Modi government’s move of doing away with Article 370 in Kashmir had changed the dynamics between India and China. However, the BJP delegation asserted that it is an internal matter of the party and there has been no change in the existing boundaries, he added.
The Hindu , June 10, 2019 reported an earlier visit by CCP to BJP office in Delhi, “amid the din of the Lok Sabha election and government formation at the Centre…the first after the Doklam stand-off ended.”
Senior BJP general secretaries Ram Madhav and Bhupendra Yadav, along with the party’s foreign affairs cell head Vijay Chauthaiwale, played host to Li Xi, a member of the Politburo… Mr. Li met members of the Congress, but the BJP’s interest in a visit by the Chinese delegation was noteworthy.
After Modi to power in 2014, “ there was a flurry of exchanges spurred on not just by the BJP’s interest but also great interest among the Chinese. We sent a woman-only delegation, a delegation of Mayors, etc., to China, plus some institutional exchanges via the India Foundation, ( Ram Madhav is its Director), a think tank of the BJP.”
When Nitin Gadkari was party president (2009-13), he led a high-level delegation to China… “making attempts to draw up some institutional connectivity between the two parties. but since 2017, we have not been able to move forward,” said the source.
outlookindia.com, 16 June 2014, and economictimes.com reported :
A delegation of CCP visited the BJP headquarters and congratulated the party leadership for the win in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. BJP Chief Nadda who led the BJP team said BJP’s commitment for strong India-China ties was based on mutual interests, exchange of scholars, exchange programmes at the student, youth and women level for more in- depth know…
BJP leader Ram Lal called for close contact between leaders of India and China to advise solutions at economic, political and cultural levels. BJP delegation was invited to China.
business-standard.com, November 15, 2014 reported :
… of a 13-member delegation of BJP MPs and MLAs from various states to China and they will try to understand the internal structure of the CCP and the political functioning there.Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and officials briefed the delegation… that will also seek an understanding of the role of the political set-up in establishing a welfare society in China.,.. will also emphasize on establishing and strengthening ties between the two parties, “aimed at building cordial relations between the two major Asian countries.”
People of India should note the double-tongue and hypocrisy of the ruling classes, and reject their jingoism, which is aided and abetted by the US, the West, and the slavish Big Media. It hurts India and its impoverished people; and harms the cause of peace and development, and the promise of an Asian Century.
In part-2, we shall go into more substantive issues of India-China relations.
Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of CPC meets with a BJP delegation led by its Secretary Arun Singh, in Beijing, Aug. 28, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhang Ling)
Ramakrishnan is a media person